Research Charities Prior to Donating

We’re in the heart of the season of giving – but some people
are using that sentiment to their advantage. Department of Ag, Trade, and
Consumer Protection Director Michelle Reinen reminds anyone looking to donate to
take a closer look at the charities they plan on helping – because they may not
be legitimate. 

Reinen tells us the scammers “just flip a word around, so that sounds like the one I’m used to – or they
throw the name America
or National or US in it and just throw you off guard. Last month we saw a
series of names that were fake charities that all had some version of the word
‘veterans’ in it.”

Reinen advises consumers to do some online research prior to donating.

She tells us “you
need to know what that organization really does and that it is a legitimate
organization that really will help the people you want to help.”

There are several websites to check out whether a charity is real. 

Reinen recommends checking the group against information from “the Wisconsin Department of
Financial Institutions – they are the state organization where a charity has to
register in order to seek donations in Wisconsin.
So it’s also a great place to establish that a charity is legitimate instead of
just a ploy.”

Anyone who believes they may have been scammed or has been contacted by an illegitimate charity organization should report it to authorities.